Q: What is everything I should know about representing myself in a criminal case in municipal court in Missouri?
Lots of details, so bear with me please. About a year ago a neighbor tried to forcefully enter my home and I used physical force to remove the individual, after which, the individual called the police and I received a ticket for misdemeanor assault with their reason being they had marks on them and I did not, I attended my arraignment and plead not guilty (I also missed the next one and ended up with a warrant and was just recently able to pay) with my new court date coming up I’m trying to prepare to represent myself as hiring counsel is just not possible with my finances as they are currently. I’ve researched the castle doctrine law in Missouri and I have statute 563.031 cited in my notes. What all do I need to know to make trial go smoothly and not make a fool of myself? I’m truly not guilty in the slightest so I really want to win this and not have a crime on my record that I am not guilty of. Any advice on how to further prepare would be very much appreciated. Thank you!
A: "Everything you should know"--all you need to know is that you should hire an attorney to represent you. Or you should ask the Court to appoint an attorney to represent you --the Court would question you and make a determination if you are indigent such that appointment of an attorney is proper--if he makes that determination in your favor, then he will appoint an attorney to represent you. If not, then you need to hire you own attorney. The Prosecutor does not care if you are innocent or not---he just wants to move his file along and will use his lawyer tactics to had you plead guilty to a lesser offense and/or take advantage of you at trial---all things a lawyer representing you can help prevent/mitigate.
Ronald J. Eisenberg agrees with this answer
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